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September 24, 2017


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LL Cool J
Phenomenon

By: Author Unknown

While running through my local record store looking for some new wax to spin, somehow I got drawn over to the CD section, and there was a voice, a voice of which I had heard before on many hip hop classics. Indeed after a while I finally realized it was the voice of none other than James Todd Smith, better known as LL Cool J, playing over the stereo. His new LP titled Phenomenon had been out for a short time, and quite honestly, I had slept on it for a while, due to the fact I wasn't really feelin' Uncle L on his title track. But ultimately I gave in and coughed up the dough for it. Immediately I proceeded to my car, and popped it in the changer, and began my musical journey. The first cut, Phenomenon, although not the absolute worst, it does fit into the bad category. It's got a nice beat that'll keep the clubs hoppin, but the lyrics are of the "Big Willie" style sans the gun talk. On track two Candy, LL basically sets the mood for most of the album, a lot of all star guests, and more of a uptempo and R&B mix. The third track, Starsky and Hutch, sees some help from Busta Rhymes. If you really break down the lyrics, it's classic L without a doubt, only with a change the way he raps, and the beats are more geared to the 90's, which is the case for most of the album. Next track is Another Dollar, yet another "Ice drip" track that we become used to lately. Track number five is sort of like Doin' it revisited, only with Keith Sweat doing some back up singing, much better than Doin' it in my opinion. Number six, Hot, Hot, Hot sounds close to his Around the way girl with LeShaun saying "Hot, Hot, Hot" and how much she likes his rocks. In the end L disses her and that's that. Next track is 4, 3, 2, 1, and by far, the crown jewel of the album where we get to see the old rippin' MC style of Mr. Smith. Cannibus calls out L by saying " I'll snatch your crown with your head still attached to it" and LL comes back with "...Tell little shorty with the big mouth to bank his clothes" and that's just the beginning, LL's whole verse seem to be aimed at Cannibus, and it doesn't let up with lines like "How dare you step up in my dimension/ your little ass should be somewhere cryin' on detention/ watch your mouth better yet hold your tongue.." and if that isn't enough LL states "Every little boy wanna' pick up the mic/ and try and run with the big boys and live up to the real hype"

Needless to say this is the LL we've come to love over the years, and it might tell us the he hasn't lost his touch, and maybe, just maybe, we might just see some of him in classic form in the future. Number eight features the Lost Boyz in a story that talks about hustlin' and what could happen. It's a good track, and the Lost Boyz add the final touch to it. Next up, number nine. This is where LL talks about his life, this is one of those songs you really have to listen to hear the message he is saying. The choir is a nice touch, don't discount this song for a second. And then we come to the last song In my opinion, the worst. It's heavy on the R&B tip, and if you don't really get into that sort of thing, skip it. Some final thoughts, yes it is the playa style we've had to endure, but if it's coming from anybody, who better? He does it the best without question, without talk of guns and drugs, just pure lyrics, and nice beats to dance to. If you want to say he sold out, think again, he's gone Platinum on almost every album he's done, and that was way before "Ice dripin" and "sippin cris" was invented. If you already haven't, go pick it up, even the "underground" heads should just to see that not all "commercial" music is about gun totin' and can have pure lyrics too.

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